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YOURSAY ‘With this law passed, Umno is going to rule forever.’


Sedition Act amendments - no bail and 20-year jail


Kim Quek: As if bringing in the sledgehammer of Pota (Prevention of Terrorism Act) is not enough to satiate the appetite for tyrannical power, BN has to fortify this colonial instrument of oppression - the Sedition Act - with teeth of a white shark.


A maximum fine of RM5,000 or maximum jail of three years is now boosted to a maximum penalty of 20 years’ jail, and a minimum penalty of five years’ jail, with bail abolished, in addition to expanding the scope of sedition to include cessation and religion.


With this enhanced weaponry alone, all the scores of elected representatives and civil society leaders now undergoing investigation or charge under the Sedition Act may be put away from politics for good or locked up in jail for the better part of their lives, if the rulers so desire.


Keep your fingers crossed; several more laws will presently be given more teeth to fulfil PM Najib Razak’s much hyped transformation for the country.     


Kit P: Twenty years’ jail sentence! Even culpable homicide not amounting to murder - unlawfully killing another person, but not intentionally - gets a penalty of 15 years in prison.


I cannot imagine what could be construed as "sedition" which earns more serious punishment than killing another human being.


David Dass: Why mandatory sentences? Why make them non-bailable? Why don't we trust judges to make the appropriate decisions on bail and sentence?


Sedition is so broad an offence that most people will not know what can be discussed. Can the public discuss hudud? Can the public discuss the use of terms prohibited by syariah enactments such as ‘Allah’ and so on?


What is left of the fundamental right to freedom of expression? And who is responsible when damage to property and person is caused? If I talk about hudud and some person burns my church and kills my priest, am I responsible under the law or is the perpetrator of the misdeeds responsible?


This law can make illusory our right to free speech.


Rojak: If Malaysians are serious about wanting to salvage a semblance of democracy, then all the proposals in this bill need to be widely discussed and thoroughly examined.


How clear is the definition of sedition? How will the impartiality of prosecutions under its name be ensured? Will the lower court judges have the experience to make decisions on complex and sensitive matters that could lead to incarceration for 20 years?


Surely the legislators should only be passing such legislation if in good conscience they are convinced it will benefit the nation as a whole and be fairly applied to one and all.


Clearwater: These are draconian amendments which when used selectively against opposition lawmakers may result in many of them being incarcerated for three years or more thus disqualifying them from office.


Is this one of Najib's new weapons against being voted out of office next GE? 


Wira: Umno is getting more despotic and desperate. This amendment is clearly meant to silence the opposition because any comment on the excesses of the government may be construed as seditious. With this law passed, Umno is going to rule forever.


Tok Karut: I hope human rights groups like Proham and Hakam would work on a comprehensive memorandum on law reform to the criminal justice system.


This involves public awareness raising, lobbying the Bar Council, political parties, NGOs and United Nations Human Rights Council, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations rapporteurs, treaty bodies, international human rights and lawyers' associations, etc.


This should include the parallel criminal justice system at state level. The timing is about right.


Boonpou: Malaysia is beyond repair. Let's unleash a Fanonian future, but this time do it right when all the other post-colonial experiments have gone wrong.


Let's have a Malaysian future that accepts ethnicity, religious, and ideology differences as equal to one another. Take the current crisis as a challenge to overcome, as opportunities to grow.


We have no other choice unless you want to sacrifice your children and grandchildren. The Najib administration might have the police and the judiciary in his pocket and can enact whatever (il)legal laws to stay onto power, political wise.


But can he survive in the economic sense? His administration and his exuberant spending and borrowing habits have hit the roof. If there is one thing that would surely bring him down, it is his naivete of economics.


VinceLim: All I want to say is to hope that this act will be used fairly to all regardless of your political view, race and religion. Failure to adhere to this principle will give a negative image to the law and the government in general.                 


Kangkung: The amendments have only one purpose: to make sure Umno can get rid of all opposition to its rule.


The Umno government wants all these draconian laws to keep itself in power by instilling fear since what is seditious can be interpreted in whatever way Umno fancies.


LifesBlessing: The country is doomed. We are all heading in the direction of Burma (previous) and North Korea.


And we, the people, are responsible for keeping BN in power till this day.



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